Uganda has received a donation of items including one million FFP2 face masks, fifty-four thousand six hundred antigenic testing kits and nine Osiris3 respirators from the French government.
The items received by Prime Minister of Uganda Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja at National Medical Stores, NMS will be used in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
While speaking at the event, on behalf of President Yoweri Museveni, the premier said that the contribution is further testimony of the long standing solidarity between the French people and the people of Uganda.
“We deeply value the relationship between our two Governments and peoples. As we say, a friend in need, is a friend indeed. France has ably demonstrated this friendship in many ways and consistently over the years. Let me, in a special way, thank you, your Excellency for the efforts you personally put in to ensure that these items get delivered in time” Nabbanja said.
The French Ambassador to Uganda, H.E Jules-Armand Aniambossou handed over the donations. He added that he hopes this token of solidarity will contribute to the government’s interventions against the new wave.
Rt. Hon. Nabbanja also said that the fight against Covid 19 is one that can only be won when the international community acts collectively and in solidarity, adding that no one can be safe unless everyone is safe, because the world is now very connected through trade, travel and tourism.
“This Covid 19 has shown us that the pandemic doesn't know or respect national boundaries. This support from France therefore, is a welcome sign of solidarity and realization of this fact. We would like to see more of this type of international solidarity even in the access to Covid 19 vaccines. We all know now; that vaccination is the surest way to reduce the spread of the pandemic. It also prevents patients from presenting severe symptoms” she said.
Hon. Nabbanja says there is continued disparity in access to vaccines with developed countries vaccinating their people while developing countries are struggling to get vaccines.
She added that even with funds, it is very difficult to access vaccines for our people due to the fact that rich countries have placed themselves ahead in the line to manufacturers of these vaccines.
The premier also applauded Ugandans for continuing to adhere to the SOPs during the lockdown, arguing that the numbers of cases are reducing slightly, but the situation remains bad.
“Let us continue to wash hands with soap, avoiding crowds, keeping a distance, wearing masks and going for vaccination when your turn comes. In the absence of vaccines, the next best defense against Covid 19 is prevention. Let us continue to undertake preventive measures as we wait for vaccines to arrive” Nabbanja said.
The Ambassador noted that just last month, France donated 175, 000 doses of vaccines that France donated to Uganda under the covax initiative.
“Besides the vaccines, we have also supported Uganda’s response at a bilateral level. In June 2020, we supported the Ugandan army (UPDF) with alcohol-based hand sanitizers worth a half a billion shillings. Last November, the Makerere University School of Public Health received 15,000 euros from the French Embassy to support the development of simple, rapid, low-cost Covid-19 diagnostic tests by a team of scientists led by Dr. Misaki Wayengera” the Ambassador said.
He reiterated that indeed the whole world, is facing a pandemic that is straining the health systems and this is why they all need a joint response. “International solidarity is paramount. As President Emmanuel Macron said, a multilateral approach is the only response to the current world public health emergency.”